Jailed woman pretends to be her mother



August 3, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Occasionally, Daren Kellerman will cross paths with a dishonest motorist.
That’s almost expected.
“It happens every day, in fact,” the Allen County sheriff’s deputy said.
But a traffic stop Saturday in LaHarpe may have taken the cake.
Kellerman spoke about the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Jodi Owens, 30, of suburban St. Louis, Mo., for alleged methamphetamine possession.
That’s because Owens almost had Kellerman and others within the Allen County Jail believing she was somebody else.
Her mother.
“Can you imagine setting up your mom like that,” Kellerman asked.
The incident occurred Saturday afternoon when Kellerman spotted Owens driving along the streets of LaHarpe without her seat belt.
Seat belt violations are considered primary offenses in Kansas, giving officers the right to initiate a traffic stop on that violation alone.
Kellerman did, at which time Owens identified herself as her mother, Jan Owens, 56, of Girard. The Younger Owens also told Kellerman that she had a suspended driver’s license. Or at least Jan Owens did.
“That’s not unusual, and I think nothing of it,” Kellerman said.
But Owens’ erratic behavior during the stop meant her no driver’s license violation was enough to warrant an arrest.
That’s when her tall tale starts growing.
“As we’re getting to jail, she tells me she’s an informant for the Crawford County Sheriff’s office, and that she’d been doing some work in Allen County, and that she’d been moving some drugs with some friends in LaHarpe,” Kellerman said. “She definitely has my interest now.”
Kellerman summoned a deputy within the Sheriff’s Department. A subsequent 90-minute search of Owens’ car, and a house she told deputies she had visited came up empty, however.”
But there were drugs found by a female jailer during a full-body search, Kellerman said.
A bag containing nearly an ounce of what he believes is methamphetamine was recovered.
An ounce of drugs sounds like a small amount, “but it’s a lot of meth,” Kellerman said. He estimated its value at close to $1,000.
But the story still wasn’t adding up.
As she was being booked into the jail, the suspect continued to identify herself as Jan Owens, going so far as to give her date of birth and Social Security number and sign several papers identifying herself as such.
But as Kellerman was typing up her information, a photo of the real Jan Owens popped up on the screen.
The photo showed a woman significantly older than a 30-year-old.
Kellerman grilled the suspect about the photo.
“Her response was ‘people change,’” he recalled.
Kellerman eventually found another mugshot that looked much more like the defendant, that of a Jodi Owens, whose appearance was much more like the one Kellerman had in custody.
The suspect continued to deny she was Jodi, until Kellerman pointed out the final piece of evidence: matching neck tattoos.
“She lied every step of the way,” Kellerman said.
Information about the arrest has been sent to the Allen County attorney’s office for formal charges.
Kellerman is requesting charges of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia charges be filed, as well as interfering with law enforcement.
“The scary part is, I think she really would have tried to set up her mother to face these drug charges,” Kellerman said.
Attempts to reach the real Jan Owens have been unsuccessful, Kellerman said.
“This is why when you give an officer information, we continue to ask questions,” he said.

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